The Brigham Young University public relations program has been named one of the five best in the country by a public relations trade magazine.

According to a BYU press release, PR Week has named the program one of five finalists for the PR Education Program of the Year award, to be announced March 11.

Brad Rawlins, chairman of the BYU Department of Communications, said this is the first time the university has sent in an entry for the award. However, he said the recognition confirms what the department has always believed.

"In our hearts and minds, we feel that we're one of the best programs in the country," he said.

Rawlins said the rigorous program has internationally recognized faculty and great students. This is a great recognition to receive, he said, and it is nice to have a third party verify the program's quality.

Students began putting together a packet for the entry in the fall and learned last year the program was among the top five competitors. Rawlins said two faculty members and a student will be in attendance at the awards banquet to learn where BYU lands.

"We just don't know where we fit in the top five," he said.

Although BYU has a good program and internships available on the East Coast, Rawlins said the university is always geographically challenged in the Mountain West. This ranking will help put the school in national prominence, especially in the company of New York University, Howard University, Georgetown and Alabama, which round out the top five.

"We're in good company," Rawlins said. "These are programs that have been recognized in the past."

Agencies and corporations at top levels will be at the banquet, and Rawlins said he hopes the recognition of BYU will help students get better access to the top jobs in the country.

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